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How to Conduct a Japanese Language Tutoring Session

By Jon, published on 20/02/2018 Blog > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > Different Ways of Teaching the Japanese Language

More and more American people are deciding to learn Japanese. There are various reasons:

  • Going to live and work in Japan,
  • Watching Japanese animated VO,
  • Reading manga,
  • Preparing a trip to the land of the rising sun, etc.

As a private Japanese tutor, you will easily find a large number of motivated students to take your courses!

Giving Japanese classes can be an excellent way to supplement your income, by the way.

Although the Japanese language is mostly spoken by the natives of its country (more than 127 million people), Japanese attracts and seduces more and more foreigners, mostly thanks to its culture.

The language is nevertheless complex to master and is only within the reach of the most motivated and diligent students! A new alphabet, new vocabulary, a new grammar and difficult syntax, it will take hard work to learn to speak Japanese fluently.

How can one teach the language as a Japanese tutor?

Here are our 5 tips to give Japanese language courses effortlessly…

Today we’ll speak about organization, methods, and pedagogy!

Organization and Method: The Two Most Important Factors of Teaching Japanese!

To be an amazing Japanese tutor, the golden rule is to be organized and methodological.

The complexity of learning the Japanese language requires tutors to prepare all of their courses according to the objectives needed to be achieved by the students in question.

When a student decides to take tutoring classes with a private tutor, they seek guidance and attention from the tutor in question.

As a Japanese tutor, it is your role to:

  • Identify all the objectives each student must achieve,
  • Prepare all your Japanese tutoring courses in advance,
  • Explain the progress of the student with each new session,
  • Introduce the student to the practice (oral comprehension, Japanese exercises, etc.),
  • Perform assessments at the end of each session.

The teacher’s organization and methodology are important for all participants.

On his or her end, the tutor can give a lesson that he or she has already worked on ahead of time. It will be much more concise and educational because of the time he or she has spent on it. The results of each session will allow him to better understand the progression and learning of the notions by his or her pupils.

For the student, the results will happen fairly quickly.

With this kind of organization, we promise you that Japanese lessons will go smoothly!

Discover more tips on how and why to teach Japanese

Organizing Your Time When it Comes to Japanese Lessons

tutoring-time Monday is Bingo Night! Oh wait, no, it’s tutoring time….

Before mastering the language of the country of the rising sun, there is a lot of learning to do. If you are to learn the language the right way, it’s essential to set up a precise schedule.

Giving Japanese classes requires a certain linguistic level!

Making a Schedule for Japanese Classes

Your schedule must be shared with your students. It will structure the entire learning program by listing:

  • which Japanese lessons to study,
  • which exercises to use for practice,
  • what are your weekly or monthly goals,
  • which media to use, etc.

In order for students to progress quickly and easily, it is important for the teacher to vary the topics and arouse their curiosity.

Taking the Time to Share Linguistic and Cultural Knowledge

If Japanese is your native language, your Japanese culture will interest your students.

Do not miss a chance to partake in these exchanges and share your cultural knowledge with your culture-hungry students!

Who knows, you might even have the same interests (manga, animation, gastronomy…)

If, on the contrary, Japanese is not your first language, no problem, you probably still have a lot of knowledge to share. But why not take the opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture directly in Tokyo?

Find out what level of Japanese you must master before you can teach the language!

Offering Tailored Japanese Classes in Order to Satisfy your Students

Whether he or she is a beginner or the most experienced teacher alive, a Japanese language teacher must know how to adapt each of his or her courses to the wishes of his or her students.

This is how a Japanese tutor finds students!

To better understand the process of his or her students, the tutor must ask himself or herself the following question: Why did the student decide to take Japanese home schooling?

There could be different reasons:

  • To prepare a trip to Japan,
  • Learn the rudiments of Japanese writing: kanji, hiragana, katakana and romaji (the use of the Latin alphabet for the latter which is more and more common from Tokyo to Osaka!)
  • To deepen one’s knowledge of the history of Japan,
  • To go study in Japan,
  • To strengthen professional Japanese in order to interact with customers (did you know that the local rules of politeness are almost a language in their own right?)
  • To hold a conversation without much difficulty during a language study trip to Japan
  • To discover Japanese calligraphy…

red-dress There are as many signs in Japanese as there are in Chinese: more than 5000!

The teacher must then propose to each of his students a tailor-made and personalized Japanese course, which may include most or all of the following:

  • If a student wants to be able to communicate easily in Japanese, he or she should work on pronunciation and speaking skills. Did you know, for example, that each syllable can only be pronounced in one way?
  • If a student needs to do better in his or her Japanese class at school, it could be good to reinforce the basics (conjugation, spelling, Japanese grammar, etc.)
  • For those who want to take an exam, it’s good to focus on just practicing Japanese.
  • You might also want to work on learning Japanese writing. The Japanese language has over 5,000 different symbols used in several fields. So there is work to do…

In addition to his students’ expectations, the teacher must also take into account their age.

This is an important criterion that will directly decide what tools to use.

In the digital age, foreign language learning tools are constantly evolving. It would be a shame to miss out on all these tools that will make your life and your way of teaching Japanese easier.

Why not use smartphone and tablet apps to work on your Japanese?

Learn to Manage your Class Time!

Whether in the context of school education or as part of home tutoring, time management is essential!

As a private Japanese tutor, you must be able to juggle lessons, exercises, and practice in a limited amount of time.

Depending on the expectations of your students, you will first estimate how many classes are required. Does the student need one hour of class per week for 6 months or 2 hours during one year…?

Of course, each student will learn at his or her own pace and some will  master the Japanese language more easily.

Be aware however that the Americans may have some pronunciation difficulties when learning Japanese. They might have trouble with pronouncing the Japanese “r” for example. This can all be resolved with practice.

Do not hesitate to have a timer going during your private lesson. The Japanese language is very rich and it helps to leave the timer running in order to manage your learning time and define a duration for each stage of the course:

  1. 20 minutes to revise the notions previously seen together,
  2. 20 minutes for the lesson of the day,
  3. 20 minutes to work on the student’s questions.

timer-fast-quick Time can become your worst enemy!

In order to save time for upcoming Japanese classes, encourage your students to go further and also keep working outside of class. Why not give them some homework:

  • reading haikus, the little Japanese poems,
  • reading mangas,
  • kanji translation and writing exercises on US and Japanese apps …

Join the discussion: how does one become a Japanese tutor?

Prepare your Japanese Classes Ahead of Time!

You prepared your lesson plan: a customized learning program for each of your students and you know how to manage your class time to the minute. This is already super good, but you still need something to optimize your Japanese lessons. Prepare your lessons ahead of time.

Preparing classes your Japanese ahead of time will save you a lot of time. Why not take advantage of it to find even more students?

Once the student’s ambitions are defined, you will have no problem preparing classes ahead of time. It is a question of knowing what the content will be, and how the different topics will be learned over the long term. Which tools will be used, etc.

Remember, it’s by multiplying the exercises, the different tools (manga, Japanese textbooks, VO movies, learning videos), and varying the lessons that your students will progress faster.

  • If your student is young, opt for exercises in the form of fun and interactive games.
  • If the student wants to work first and foremost, take a tour on the Internet to discover many free media tools, like Youtube for example.
  • If you accompany a student during exam prep (for a Japanese SAT Subject Test for example), then it will be necessary to be more “academic” and prepare Japanese grammar, conjugation, and vocabulary classes.

class-with-japan Make sure your student is not bored! You want them to be enthralled by your classes.

There is unfortunately no magic recipe to learn Japanese. It takes a lot of work and practice.

In order for your students not to drop out along the way, keep your distance from classic, often boring,  teaching.

Your course must be lively and creative while remaining educational!

Also take a moment to have a look at the price of a Japanese lesson!

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